Humairaa Mayet | 27 May 2018 | Image: Salaamedia – Azhar Vadi
The Rohingya people of Myanmar have suffered greatly at the hands of their government for years.
Following the genocide that drove over 1 million people out of the country, thos who have remained have been forced to live in camps which are difficult to enter and exit, and have a constant shortage of necessities.
Speaking to Salaamedia’s Inayet Wadee on the Iftaar Drive, Advocate Shabnum Mayet of Protect the Rohingya explained the struggles facing the Rohingya population this Ramadan.
Within Myanmar 250 000 Rohingya have been registered with the United Nations, and the registration of all Rohingya is likely to take approximately six years. The World Bank may potentially fund projects in the Rakhine States, however, Mayet stated that she fears that these cash infusions will be distributed unfairly and will be exploited by the government of Myanmar.
Human trafficking among the Rohingya remains a large problem. Mayet explained that traffickers take advantage of women who are in compromised situations, resulting in sex and human trafficking of the Rohingya to surrounding countries.
11-12% of children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition, stated Mayet.
Mayet also lamented the fact that the South African government continuous to interact with the government of Myanmar. This has led to South Africans being largely unaware of the crises underway in Myanmar.
Mayet expressed hope that the month of Ramadan would serve as a turning point, leading South African civil society to focus on and understand the plight of the Rohingya. 13 June is the annual ‘Black for Rohingya’ day which is an international movement which takes place on social media.
In order to keep the issues of the Rohingya towards the fore, Mayet stated that pressure must be put on foreign departments and embassies from the Far Eastern region. Furthermore, companies which engage in trade with Myanmar must be boycotted, and organisations which assist the Rohingya must be supported.